A Marseille lawyer files a complaint against Pfizer

Eric Lanzarone, a public law lawyer, filed an appeal against the contract signed between the Pfizer company and the French State. Pfizer responds.

Public procurement is his specialty. Marseille lawyer Eric Lanzarone denounces the non-responsibility clause imposed by Pfizer on the State, in the context of anti-Covid vaccination.

Pfizer will never be responsible for any consequences of the vaccine. How to accept that the State signed such a contract, with this clause, illegal in the public contract? “According to master Lanzarone, normally it is the administration which imposes its conditions.”There, we have privatized the profits and socialized the risks. It is the state that will pay for Pfizer’s liability.

In the event of problems following the vaccination, who will compensate the victims? “Normally it is ONIAM, (the National Office for Compensation of Medical Accidents), but with this clause, it will surely not be possible”.

Disproportionate clauses

The State has made itself very small in front of Pfizer by accepting leonine clauses”. Because something else bothers the Marseille lawyer: apparently, in the event of litigation, Pfizer cannot be summoned only before a Belgian court, under Belgian law. ” Why ? I have no response ! But it is very possible that following the appeal filed with the administrative court of Paris, I will be sent to a Belgian court!

Opacity in purchase orders

For several months, the lawyer has been asking Olivier Véran, Minister of Health, for the order forms for Pfizer vaccines. “How much spent? How many doses ordered? These data are normally public and free to consult. But there impossible to have them. The ministry sends me back to Public Health France, which does not even answer“.

So he decided to contact the CADA, the Commission for Access to Administrative Documents, an independent administrative authority responsible for ensuring freedom of access to documents. ” In a few months, I will normally have access to purchase orders“.

1.8 billion doses ordered by the European Union

As Liberation’s “CheckNews” site explains, the European Union has ordered 1.8 billion additional doses for all the Member States of the Union, between the end of 2021 and 2023 (a firm order for 900 million doses and an option for an additional 900 million doses).

Within the framework of a contract negotiated by the European Commission, the prices are then identical for all the Member States of the Union, and the vaccines are delivered at the same time in each country, in proportion to their population.

Questions/answers to the Pfizer group:

We requested an ITW from the Pfizer company, which replied to us by email:

How are orders made between France and Pfizer? How are the volumes to be received assessed? Are the vaccine order forms between Pfizer and the French State available for consultation?

The system is designed with some flexibility so that we can effectively support national immunization programs. For France, we assess the needs in close collaboration with the French State and the health authorities. Purchase orders are confidential contractual documents signed between the company and the national health authorities.

What is a disclaimer? What is it for ?

We do not comment on the clauses included in our contracts signed with the States or the European Commission. Pfizer has kept its contractual commitments by delivering the quantities ordered according to the defined schedule and by ensuring the availability of a safe and effective vaccine to fight the Covid-19 pandemic. In a desire to best support the vaccine strategy of the French government, Pfizer has on several occasions delivered significant volumes of our vaccine in advance, ahead of the agreed delivery schedule.

Is it common to include one in contracts between laboratories and governments?

The general principle in matters of contract is freedom of contract, that is to say that the parties who conclude a contract accept the rules which apply to its execution. All the clauses are therefore imaginable. Regarding contracts in the pharmaceutical sector, exceptional events such as a public health emergency may lead to specific clauses.

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